The Adventures of Mark Twain by Huckleberry Finn
by Robert Burleigh
illustrated by Barry Blitt
2011. Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Mark Twain (1835-1910), born Samuel Clemens, was an American author and humorist.
In the voice of Huckleberry Finn, this book tells the story of Samuel Clemens from his being "born excited," to when he was eleven years old and his "Pap up and died." It covers his time as a steamboat captain and his failure at "soldierin'" and "hammerin' rock" during the Civil War that led to his job as a newspaper reporter. Finally, it discusses his marriage, the writing of his books, and the sad end to his life.
About the Illustrations
The illustrations use exaggerated heads and faces to match the fanciful tone of the text. For me, having been to the Mark Twain house for a tour, the most striking thing about the illustrations is how perfectly they capture the building and its character. It was just spot on.
The Editor's Note fills in many of the gaps of the text, including the details and dates that the style of the text proper made it necessary to omit. Unlike the Levi Strauss book's author's note, which basically indicates that the reader has just wasted his time reading nonsense, this note helps make the book useful by supplementing the somewhat silly text.
This book is clever, but not easy to read due to the heavy dialect. Though any reader could gain an understanding of Mark Twain from the book, it is probably best appreciated by kids who have also read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.